Thursday Afternoon, on March 25th, 2011. I left my final examination hall; it was last day of my secondary school. On my way to home while driving, I was thinking constantly about how I would present my thoughts, my desire in front of my whole family. It was regarding the big life changing verdict that I wanted to take for myself. Every day after dinner we spent quality time in our family room. As I have a big huge joint family. Joint family is our popular Indian culture. This tradition, where the eldest in the family lays down rules, which are followed and accepted by all other members of the family, it is the reason that the family life is not chaotic. Together we talk, laugh, watch movies, discuss. Society at the present lives in an age where it is becoming ever more difficult to spend time together as a family. Many families nowadays think about if having quality time together is a thing of the past. But my family still has that going on.
I know I can always count on someone to help me feel better. I was most pampered grandkid and dearest to my grandpa. I wasn’t just a kid to him: I was his granddaughter, and I was special. He was special to me as well. My grandpa use to always sits beside me on our special sofa (just reserved for us) during our family time and I used to tell him how my whole day was?, What I learnt from today’s self-experience; it was like my daily oral journal to him. And after listening to me he always has mature suggestions and advices for me. When I am with grandpa, I am still small granddaughter to him but yet he made me see things through grown up eyes.
Anyway, I still remember we were watching movie and suddenly I said; “I want to ask for your permission guys.” Pause. Meanwhile my mom jumped in between before I start to share my verdict, as she was already aware about the step I wanted to take.
Mom bit worriedly asked; “Rani are you sure you want to go?” (My other name is rani).
‘Yes, I am firm with my decision and I will.’ I replied.
“What’s the matter?” dad asked. “Nothing,” I said.
I took a deep breath as I was feeling nervous, but i let it slide out and dropped a bombshell: “I want to move to CANADA for my further studies at any cost” I said to everyone. Pause. I could see bolt from the blues kind of reaction on their faces. The concern behind their denial was because of their love and care towards me. Also, along with the whole big joint family we have 2 full time maids at home who do all our day to day house chores like cleaning, dishes, laundry and many more except cooking. My mom and aunts does cooking.
I remembered the battles line had been drawn between my grand pa and rest of my other family member. Grandpa always encouraged me with his bells on.
“Let them give their negative advices, my darling; ‘you go girl, you are my bravest granddaughter’. Braver than my grandsons”, he said.
The moment grandpa whispered this; my dad and my elder brother started arguing. “Dad, ‘please don’t give her false hopes and advice, she is too young to live on her own,’ and this is not about few miles away from the home, or same country and different state. She want to move to abroad, It means thousands miles away from us” they exclaimed.
I received denial from all other family members because; they were too worried about my survival on my own at the age of 17. However, my grandpa was exceptional, it’s not about he was not worried. In fact he don’t wanted me play waiting game. According to him my decision to be independent at this age was extraordinary.
‘Indian culture is far different than abroad western culture’, said my aunt and uncle.
‘I am agreed with all of your concerns and worrisome; though I will stand with rani to support her for her future endeavors’ grandpa replied without making an eye contact with other family member.
Inside deep down, my heart was saying that he was also against my decision; on the other hand he didn’t want me to discourage and not to tear me apart.
“How we will find place for her in abroad?” very worriedly said dad.
“Grandpa please, doesn’t be stubborn, please make her understand that it’s very difficult to survive on her own, this is not right choice that she want to make; she will be more happier here along with all of us around; What if one day she needed our help in middle of the night in abroad?, and we won’t be there beside her.” My elder brother exclaimed very emotionally through tears.
After all this huge arguments and discussion happened at one point I obtained second thought of not leaving my family behind. Their love and affection made me felt very emotional. And beside all of this my Grand pa was very firmed with me and said, ‘my lovely daughter don’t you worry, you made right decision and I am very proud of you; everything will be alright, all the doors will open spontaneously ones you will on your desire path.’
He started patting on my back and again said “I am really proud of you.”
Later on I received positive answer from every member of the family; they really approved my decision and allowed me to move abroad. As the date of departure creeps up closer, mixed emotions covered me completely and i felt its normal, anticipation and the cloud of anxiety followed me quickly. The day before my departure we had small farewell party arranged by friends and family, they all were very happy for me but my grandpa looked sad that day. I knew that deep inside of him; his heart was broken because of my departure the next morning. I remember that I even told him, “Grandpa, please do not worry about me, I’ll be fine. I am assuring you that I will write emails and send you pictures as much as possible.”
“I know sweetheart, I know you will for sure.” He hugged me and replied.
It almost feels like as if it was just yesterday when I was on my own on a plane not truly knowing what to believe but excited for what the future had for me.
I reached Canada safely, it was first day away from family, and felt heart wrenching but I was strong and determined. I woke up next morning excitedly for the convocation day and I was even more excited to share my daily oral journal with my grandpa over the video call. I was in a convocation hall listening to the speeches given by Dean of college. Unexpectedly I was interrupted by a phone call from my dad.
‘Hello. Hi dad.’ I said happily. Pause.
After dead silence my dad started crying, He tearfully replied, ‘Honey, Grandpa is no more’.
“He left all of us behind; God took him away’, ‘your Grandpa died this morning”. Said my dad
I immediately felt paralyzed by regret and I shattered into grieve with tears.
I hung up the call without answering. It was first time I lost someone close to me, and I was thousands of miles away from home. He was the most amazing, strong, enthusiastic, compassionate and generous person I have ever known. He taught me so much in life. He made me so brave and strong. I always had his back and support.
Losing Grandpa was one of the hardest things I have survived through. First couples of months were difficult for me to live in abroad away from home all alone holding grief of my Grandpa’s death. People say that losing someone special is a misfortune, I believed them but I never understood the horror of it. It was the day when I thought I would definitely not gather the pieces of my broken heart.
It has been 6 years since Grandpa left us and it still hurts like it was yesterday. I always think if I could go back in time, I would have never left him to move abroad and I could have hugged Grandpa so tight during his last breath. As much as it discomforts, I am glad that God gave me the honor and chose me to be his granddaughter, and i will keep him in my heart forever.
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